I would be curious to learn which team is doing more to prepare for the Chick-fil-a Bowl, Alabama or WVU. It will be easier for WVU to simulate Alabama than for Alabama to simulate WVU. The reason is, Alabama can’t simulate the following:
- WVU’s fast tempo offense
- The speed of WVU’s offense RBs and WRs
- The speed of WVU’s defense
- The speed of WVU’s special teams
- Alabama doesn’t run WVU’s Law School hill
WVU Law School Hill:
If Alabama Head Coach, Nick Saban had his way, the NCAA would pass rules to stop the fast tempo offensives.
If WVU freshman QB, William Crest; freshman WR, Shelton Gibson; and senior WR, Mario Alford return kick-offs and punts this season, there will definitely be return speed.
What impressed me the most at the two spring training sessions I attended was the speed on defense. With the addition of redshirt senior, Shaq Riddick at DE, the speed off the edge just went up. Dravon Henry will add to the speed of the DBs and from the videos I watch of him, he can hit like safety Karl Joseph.
It would not surprise me if freshman RB, Dontae Thomas-Williams made it to the field this season, for the coaches are impressed with him, as well as with Riddick, Gibson, Henry, and freshman WR, Lamar Parker.
Parker doesn’t have the speed of Crest, Gibson, or Mario, but he does have moves. Holgorsen stated recently that Parker had surprised him since practice began on July 31st. Coaches are also impressed with Dontae Thomas-Williams.
The other good news for WVU is that they have Wendell Smallwood back in camp. Smallwood is as good at WR as he is at RB. If there is one player on WVU’s team this year that is similar to last season’s Charles Sims, it is Smallwood.
Another thing I enjoy at the spring practices was watching TE/FB Cody Clay and DE Dontrill Hyman go at it. Those were some interesting battles. While Clay will do his thing against defenses, Hyman will be putting pressure on offenses.
The other thing is, Alabama has some big shoes to fill from last season, and has its own issues to overcome, and positions to fill. Both teams return only 6 starters on offense, and Alabama’s DBs are questionable at best.
Unlike the odds makers and the sports analysts, I truly look for WVU to win 8 or 9 games this season, and will start 4 – 0.